Bullying tactics in the Oscar trial

I hit mute when the news channels cut to the trial of Oscar Pistorius. One need not sympathise with the athlete to find the exchanges with state prosecutor Gerrie Nel excruciating.  

I reader Terry Duncan of Bridlington, East Yorks, wrote to us asking: "Would Gerrie Nel get away with such bullying in a UK court?" Recently, Nel went even  further. The defendant broke down crying four times and was sick in court.

"Now you're trying to be emotional and it's not working," said Nel, accusing the 27-year-old of "concocting" an improbable defence. "You're not using your emotional state as an escape are you?"

So the question is why is Nel behaving this way?

The prosecutor's task, I reckon, is to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Oscar Pistorius knew it was his girlfriend in the bathroom when he shot her through the door — and not that he suspected an intruder, as he claims.

With the only witness dead, that's very difficult to prove. So  what appears evident is that Gerrie Nel's tactic is to try to break Oscar Pistorius on the witness stand; to place him under so much pressure that his defence collapses.

Hence the aggression so shocking to observers of other legal systems. And perhaps rightly so.
Pity Reeva Steenkamp's family who sit through the evidence – and the judge who must make sense of it.
 - The Independent


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